Role of Deviance Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2460 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] This list provide practitioners a basis with which to create prevention and counseling programs for individuals who are at risk for dropping out of school (Campbell pp). To participate in a prevention program, one has to meet at least two of the markers, "i.e., a black male receiving free and reduced lunch and has a history of school detentions, just as, a black female, who has parents that dropped out of school and who has been sexually active since twelve years of age" (Campbell pp). Campbell says that by using this framework it becomes obvious that an "at risk" program uses the values and assumptions of those in positions of power and authority (Campbell pp). The outcome of this endeavor is to assimilate the victim of the inequality into the dominant world-view while at the same time assuming that the understanding of the problem, the expectations and assumptions of the "expected" dropout, and the social, economic and political structures that created the disparity are equitable, just and fair (Campbell pp). However, in the end, the problem persists and the community continues to be excluded, while the people that created the problem are maintained and legitimated (Campbell pp). One researcher says that "this is a form of deficit thinking, creating a scapegoat for the problem rather than providing a real and substantive solution" (Campbell pp).

There is support in the research literature for a strong significant effect of the association with deviant peers on subsequent deviant behavior independent of previous deviant behavior (Kaplan pp). One 1989 study on the causes of dropout behavior, asserted that it is "well documented that dropouts as well as delinquents associate with friends with like behavior" (Kaplan pp).

A description of the mechanisms by which association with deviant peers may facilitate future deviant behavior has included providing adolescents with justifications for their deviance, decreasing their association with representatives of the normative structure -- who could under normal circumstances provide informal sanctions against their deviant acts -- and providing them with alternative sources of emotional support that continue even when they break the rules, or because they break the rules (Kaplan pp).

Thus, it is hypothesized that students who associate with other students who have adopted contra-normative attitudes and behaviors are more likely to adopt behaviors that will lead to their dropping out of school (Kaplan pp).

Joan McCord writes in the "Journal of Studies on Alcohol" that there are several explanations for a possible association between school dropout and underachievement and the development of alcohol use disorders (McCord pp).

According to McCord, the association may be due to a general tendency towards problem behavior and deviance, however, abnormal drinking behavior may also be a method for coping with poor feelings and the alienation associated with failure (McCord pp).

Most research on offending emphasizes humiliation, incarceration, stigma, loss of income, freedom, and respect (McCarthy pp). Modern society typically rejects violence, however, many people, such as victims and vigilantes, will assault offenders (McCarthy pp). The decline in Western society's use of direct physical pain to punish lawbreakers has not eliminated crime's potential for harm, nor all potential offenders' fear of it (McCarthy pp). People's apprehensions may focus more on the danger of others who respond to crimes with severe, even fatal, retaliatory violence (McCarthy pp). "Youth who fear and youth who are fearless in the face of crime's potential harm both appear to use these perceptions in making decisions about offending' (McCarthy pp).

A recent study involving deviant and non-deviant participates, revealed that there were no differences in the percentages reporting educational goals, successes, or stresses, however, deviant participants reported a higher rate of bad grades and negative school experiences over the previous three years than did non-deviant participants (Wadsworth pp). The study suggests that the quality of current or recent school experiences is a major factor regarding good verses poor outcomes in the transition to adulthood (Wadsworth pp).

Deviance is normal because it exists in all societies and logically will continue to exist, and according to the logic of functional theory, if it exists, it must be functional, produce some positive consequence for the whole society (Transition pp). Just think, without Hitler, there would be no European social democracy, no state of Israel, no jet engine, no penicillin, no NATO, no microwave oven, no atomic attrition, and most importantly, no precedent against which to measure future aspiration (Boyden pp). In other words, society, ideas and all creative thought would have stagnated long ago without the constant agitation of difference and divergence (Boyden pp).

Work Cited

Boyden, Matthew; Green, Amy. "Positive Deviance." hl=en

Campbell, LeAnne. "As strong as the weakest link: urban high school dropout."

High School Journal. 12/1/2003.

Dietz, Robert D. "The paradox of social organization: networks, collective efficacy, and violent crime in urban neighborhoods." Social Forces.


"Deviant Behavior."

Kaplan, Howard B. "Decomposing the Academic Failure-Dropout Relationship: A

Longitudinal Analysis." The Journal of Educational Research. 7/1/1997.

Long, Russ. "Deviance." April 18, 2004.

McCarthy, Bill; Hagan, John. "Danger and the decision to offend." Social Forces.


McCord, Joan. "The association of educational achievement and school dropout with risk of alcoholism: a twenty-five-year prospective study of inner-city children." Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 5/1/1998.

"Transition to Functional Theories of Deviance."

Wadsworth, Martha. "Life History Reports of Young Adults Previously Referred

for Mental Health Services." Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 12/22/2000. [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Role of Deviance.  (2005, June 30).  Retrieved February 23, 2019, from

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"Role of Deviance."  30 June 2005.  Web.  23 February 2019. <>.

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"Role of Deviance."  June 30, 2005.  Accessed February 23, 2019.